Having played in youth clubs, high school, and college games I never really noticed until I became a referee a few years ago how different all three organizations are when it comes to the laws of the game. Each has its own organization (FIFA, NISOA, NFHS) with its own specific laws, terminology, and uniforms. Why does the USA do this? Why don’t we keep everything consistent under the Laws of the Game given by FIFA, obviously the largest of any organization in the world? Why cause so much confusion amongst players, coaches, parents, and referees who take part in two or all three of these organizations? Do other countries have divisions like this or is this only to be found here in the USA? Thanks.

USSF answer (February 27, 2008):
You will have to take your question to the competitions that run the high school and college-level games, as well as other unaffiliated soccer. The U. S. Soccer Federation is the only authority in the United States authorized by FIFA to organize soccer. The other competitions, including various “rogue” leagues, have chosen to take another path and do not play under the Laws of the Game that the rest of the world plays by.

Historically, the Laws were written on the assumption that the players were adults and undertook a dangerous sport knowingly, whereas the schools in this country have a tradition of operating in loco parentis. We can understand the high school group wishing to modify some laws to meet its philosophy that sports in schools serve an educational purpose outside the classroom. Of course, none of this explains why soccer is played by kids in all other parts of the world in accordance with the Laws of the Game with little apparent detriment to their education.

Leave a Reply